When I began making my idea for a travel and photography website for women into a reality I wanted to create a site that offered all the things I often found lacking as a female traveller. It needed to collate experiences as they happen with the useful tips that could be passed on afterwards and feature all the women who share their travel stories and inspire me.
As someone that creates content every day, this wasn’t going to be a rush job because I was adamant I wouldn’t produce anything that I wouldn’t use myself. I’m fortunate that the small team who work with me on So She Travelled believe in it as much as I do, which helped when I worried about balancing work, travels and this website build and wondering if I was mad to pursue it! Each trip this year has confirmed how important travel support is and how sharing first-hand information could help someone have a better trip or just a brighter day.
In order to share travel as it happens, when I left on my first trip of the year, to India, I launched So She Travelled on Instagram to find out whether anyone was actually interested in travel and photography experience from women and whether I had time to do it around my job. It was a 4 week trip covering many places in a country I had never been to before so it was a great opportunity to share my first impressions without any pressure to create positive or pre-edited content.
Despite being used to travelling solo, I was alone with a driver who didn’t speak English driving across the country to cover key destinations for a job. Whole days sometimes went by without me speaking English to anyone or staying in a place more than one night. Combined with not bringing enough warm clothes (and if you saw the luggage I was using then, I could have brought a duvet and still have had room to spare!). It was the Instagram community that gave me an outlet for my creativity and also a voice to ask for and offer information and share stories with.
It was during this trip that I felt lonely for the first time. Suddenly the sweet comments and support from Instagram friends and travellers were what was keeping me going after 12 hour shoot days and cold, bed buggy nights. The support of followers interested in the photos I was posting from my phone made me want to finish this website thoroughly and make sure it became a warm place for anyone else seeking advice, tips, escapism and understanding too.
Although I make content constantly – it’s a habit I developed as an energetic child! – my priority is making the most of my chance to travel and documenting what I see and feel authentically, not on posting it the quickest. So it’s been amazing to see the reaction to the Stories when I get wifi wherever I am. The biggest responses are often about the worst (and probably funniest) parts of my trips. It might be me in shock from seeing a huge cave spider, falling off a horse or trying to direct a tuk tuk driver that’s arguing with a cow but those moments are what make each trip as memorable as all the beautiful scenery and sunshine does so they should be included too!
If I planned what I was posting each day and how I wanted it to come across, I don’t think it would be as candid. I’m often embarrassed when I watch things back but I know it’s the truest version of what happened that day and my reactions are part of sharing the moments instead of presenting them. I’ll never get to experience something for the first time again so I may as well share it honestly with anyone looking for real feedback.
Because of this and the amazing developments in camera phone technology, I made So She Travelled an exclusively mobile content website and you can read more about that here:
We began the year with me travelling India and at the end of it, having worked on the development and design of the website tirelessly, it exists here and now, hurray! I thought I’d share a few of the images from that So She Travelled adventure below to celebrate the start of the journey and how Instagram helped it take shape – photos taken on my phone of course!
If you’d like guides on how any of these images were created or edited, just pop me a comment.
Frances Draskau – Founder, Photographer & Traveller at SoSheTravelled.com